A constantly growing city, Dubai is peerless in many ways. It is the most populous emirate of the seven United Arab Emirates, and it functions similarly to an independent city-state. Its stunning infrastructure and outstanding tourist amenities make it an incredibly popular destination for visitors from all over the world. The superb city is also the most progressive emirate in the UAE, which has a significant positive impact on its economy.
Why is Dubai So Rich?
The city is a place of opulence and luxury services. The gold trade is blooming here with many jewelry shops scattered everywhere. Everything about it is grand and majestic, with almost no place for the ordinary. Tourists often find themselves in complete awe at the level of luxury they experience at every step, because even though this many not officially be the richest city in the world, it definitely looks like it.
One of the main reasons why Dubai is so popular is precisely the fact that it is unexpectedly spectacular for a desert settlement with no natural river or other body of fresh water. Some might inaccurately believe that the emirate’s economy and success comes mainly from the oil industry, but the reality is that Dubai does not have an enormous supply of it. Actually, experts estimate them to completely deplete in the next twenty years.
So people in Dubai have learned to focus on more long-term lucrative industries, such as tourism, real estate, financial services and aviation. It continues to grow at a remarkable pace, even though the global economic crash of 2008 had a huge negative impact of the emirate. Dubai is now a desert city of majestic buildings, with an almost out-of-this-world skyline, much like a futuristic oasis.
This is a city of seemingly endless infrastructure possibilities, where any archaeological dream can come true. There are countless amazing photos of Dubai on the internet showing different attractions within the emirate and alluring tourists from all over the world with their greatness. The spectacular underwater hotel rooms at the five-star Atlantis, The Palm, the iconic Dubai Mall, The World Islands, and even the National Bank of Dubai building are all excellent examples of urban majesty.
A City of Superlatives
Successfully merging traditions with futuristic visions, Dubai manages to amaze the world with its boldness and ambition. An artificial archipelago shaped like a palm tree, another one shaped like the map of our world, an indoor ski destination in the middle of the desert, a giant aquarium, and the world’s only seven-star hotel (unofficially called so) are all part of the unforgettable Dubai experience. And let’s not forget the world’s largest shopping mall, the fastest roller coaster, the tallest building, and also the most spectacular police cars.
The Incredibly Luxurious Dubai Police Cars
The BMW i8 was the latest addition to the astonishing Dubai Police Fleet. Local authorities have paid around $140,000 for it, and even though it isn’t as spectacular as other supercars in the collection, it makes up for all that with its fuel-saving hybrid technology.
While you are more likely to see this beauty on a regular patrol through the city than in a high-speed chase, the $400,000 police Lamborghini would obviously have no difficulty in catching criminals at 217 miles per hour.
McLaren MP4 12C
Priced at approximately $240,000, this gorgeous supercar is powered by a small but extremely potent 3.8-liter twin turbo engine. It is capable of delivering 592 horsepower and 443 pound-foot of torque. Boasting a carbon fiber chassis, the MP4 12C is both remarkably lightweight and sturdy.
The Ferrari FF is one of the more practical vehicles in the fleet, featuring four seats. It cost approximately $300,000, but really its addition to the collection is priceless. There wouldn’t be a complete list of supercars without at least one stunner from the iconic Italian automaker.
Mercedes Brabus B63S Widestar G Wagon
The collection simply wouldn’t have been complete without an extra powerful luxury SUV. For a desert city, a stunner like the Mercedes Brabus B63S Widestar G Wagon is an absolute must. With 700 horsepower, the SUV is both fierce and intimidating. It has an estimated cost of $500,000.
Aston Martin One-77
The 750 horsepower and the 553 pound-foot of torque the One-77 are definitely pretty impressive, but what really sets it apart from its peers is its prohibitive price. Dubai has paid approximately $1.4 million for it.
A little less remarkable when compared to the other stunners in the fleet, the Audi R8 is a wonderful car nonetheless. And it is definitely not one that you would typically see sporting police livery. This is one gorgeous two seater priced around $125,000.
Mercedes AMG SLS
We imagine all policemen would love to drive one of these gullwing beauties, but only the privileged Dubai law enforcers can do so. The 550 horsepower Mercedes cost approximately $250,000.
The $150,000 Nissan GTR is one beautiful sports car. With over 500 horsepower, it is aptly dubbed Godzilla. It probably isn’t easy for policemen to stay within speed limits when driving such a powerful beast.
You can’t have a supercar collection and not own at least one Bugatti Veyron. Fast, powerful and undeniably gorgeous, the Veyron is the most expensive luxury police car in the fleet, priced at around $1.5 million. This is the stuff automotive legends are made of.
Ford Rosch Mustang
While most people wouldn’t call a $65,000 car cheap, this one is definitely the most affordable one on the list. Bringing a little American muscle into the mix, the Mustang is a fierce car indeed.
Electronically limited at 187 mph, the BMW M6 is both beautiful and very powerful. It boasts a generous power output of 560 horsepower, which is way more than most law enforcers ever get to enjoy during their work hours.
Bentley Continental GT
Dubai spent approximately $235,000 to make sure that the Dubai Police Fleet would enjoy some British elegance as well. This Continental GT flaunts 625 horsepower and 600 pound-foot of torque.
The Most Expensive Dubai Apartment
Scheduled for completion in 2017, the emirate’s most expensive apartment sits proudly at the top of a spectacular 25-story tower called ONE at Palm Jumeirah. The luxury penthouse is going to flaunt a whopping 42,477 square feet of space, of which 16,641 square feet are private terraces. It’s a stunning 8-bedroom home equipped with everything a luxury lifestyle enthusiast could ever ask for.
Some of its amenities include separate maid’s quarters, a chef’s kitchen with separate prep room, a professional barbeque pit, a gym and a hair salon. The list gets even more unbelievable when you add the infinity pool and spa, a cinema and a 12-space garage.
This amazing “private temple”, as it is sometimes referred to, is being developed by Omniyat and Drake Scull International, and it is already recognized as the most expensive Dubai property. Even though it is still a long way from completion, the penthouse’s price has already been revealed and it is obviously highly prohibitive: you would need Dh 181 million (approximately $47 million) to enjoy its sweeping views on a daily basis.
World’s Most Expensive Number Plate
It sometimes is a bit difficult to differentiate oneself as a remarkably rich person in a city where vanity and opulence are pretty much the norm. So when luxury cars, private islands and personal jets don’t cut it anymore, there is also the very good option of personalizing your toys in a highly exclusive way. Like getting a vanity plate, for instance.
Unique number plates have a special appeal for rich people who love the spotlight. Auctions involving them can bring together hundreds of exclusivity seeking men in Dubai, and there is no telling just how high prices will get one the bidding battle begins. For businessman Saeed Abdul Ghafour Khouri, putting his hands on the emirate’s most coveted plate cost him over 52.2 million dirham, or approximately 14.2 million US dollars.
The staggering price has propelled the item to the top of the most expensive number plates list, setting a new record not only for Dubai, but also for the rest of the world.
Most Expensive Ice Cream in Dubai
Unveiled at the beginning of 2015, the most expensive ice cream in Dubai is a superb dessert served at the Scoopi Cafe. The experience is truly memorable, because who can ever forget paying over $800 (3,000 dirham) for one scoop of vanilla flavored ice cream?
A team of sweets experts worked for five weeks on this special dish before adding it to the menu, trying to find the best possible combination of flavors, textures and decors. Called “Black Diamond”, the dessert is served in a Versace bowl and eaten with a Versace spoon, both of which the buyer can take home. The scoop itself is a rich Madagascar vanilla ice cream, and it is perfectly seasoned with Iranian saffron and black truffle. For the final touch, the chef adds a sprinkle of edible old as well.
Ten Excellent Dubai Tours and Activities
4×4 Dubai Desert Safari
The desert doesn’t always have to be scary or intimidating. There are ways of experiencing its magic in a safe and highly enjoyable manner, so go ahead and immerse yourself in the local culture by spending a few memorable hours among the vast sand dunes.
Travelling by 4×4 vehicles across the desert is a thrilling experience, very much loved by adrenaline junkies. It doesn’t have to be extreme, though, if you don’t want to. The package also includes a fun camel ride and even intricate henna tattoos for your hands and feet.
To finish the day, you get to enjoy a delicious barbecue dinner under the starry Arabian night, while professional tanoura dancers keep the spirits high. Exclusivity enthusiasts also have the option to upgrade to a luxury package which gives them the privilege of having their dinner at a private table, accompanied by a bottle of sparkling wine and some delicious fresh fruit.
Platinum Heritage Luxury Tours and Safaris
You will definitely love this unforgettable experience in the desert! It all starts with a comfortable ride from Dubai in an air-conditioned minivan that will take you from the city and amidst the golden sand dunes. In order to reach your destination – which is an exclusive desert camp – you need to leave the vehicle behind and continue the adventure on the back of a camel.
After a 45-minute camel ride, you finally reach the plush retreat where a host of interesting activities will bring you closer to the local culture, all with a sprinkle of luxury. You get to watch spectacular falconry demonstrations, witness the preparation of traditional bread and coffee, and enjoy an unforgettable four-course banquet. You can also get a beautiful henna tattoo and watch a traditional music and dance show under the stars.
For a truly unforgettable experience in Dubai, you must try one of the most popular attractions at Atlantis The Palm: spending some time in the world’s largest coastal dolphin habitat. Interacting with the beautiful, gentle and highly intelligent marine animals is a true privilege and local Marine Mammal Specialists can offer five different ways of connecting with them.
Unlike many other similar destinations, Dolphin Bay emphasizes interactive experiences with the dolphins, being less about feeding the animals and watching shows. Tourists can get close to the friendly dolphins in different ways, from petting them without even touching the water to deep underwater swims.
For children and inexperienced swimmers, there is a waist-deep lagoon where the animals come to greet visitors. You can gently stroke and pet the dolphins and enjoy watching their agile bodies glide through the water right next to you. Experienced swimmers can take things a notch further and even enjoy fun belly rides on the backs of the dolphins in deeper waters.
There is also the possibility to dive with the dolphins, but that level of interaction is reserved solely for certified scuba divers.
Bateaux Dubai Dinner Cruise
Enjoy a romantic evening cruise onboard a glass-walled boat that will take you up and down Dubai Creek, passing by spectacular landmarks and soaking up unobstructed panoramas. The 2.5 hour dinner cruise starts with you stepping onto a red carpet that leads to the beautiful boat called Bateaux Dubai.
You will be warmly greeted with a drink, and as the boat sets itself in motion, you can start nibbling at delicious canapés to work up an appetite. You can then find a spot on the open-roof terrace or take a seat on the deck, where the walls and ceiling are completely transparent to allow for unbelievable city views.
The floodlit skyline is a spectacular sight, so having a camera on you is probably a very good idea. The boat will pass by a series of important Dubai landmarks such as the Grand Mosque, Old Souk, Old Boat Port, Deira Tower, Twin Towers, Clock Tower and Dhow Wharfage.
As you enjoy the sights, a mouth-watering 4-course gourmet dinner is prepared and served to you in a most pleasant and professional way. You can choose from two selections of drinks to accompany your meals – sodas or house wines. The experience is even more delightful with a soft piano playing fine music in the background.
Dubai Helicopter Tour
An excellent choice for first time visitors, the Dubai Helicopter Tours are a great way of beginning to know the emirate. Tourists go for takeoff at Dubai Festival City, where a professional pilot awaits them with a friendly smile.
The tour follows the glimmering Dubai Creek and allows passengers to witness the stunning evolution of the city from old to new. The contrast of past and future is still present and very visible as one flies above old suburbs with souks (open markets) and traditional architecture, heading towards the new and imposing urban structures, golf courses and modern beaches.
Some of the most spectacular view includes the Creek Golf Club, the Historical Wind Towers, the Spice Souk, the Sheikh Rashid Palace in Heritage Village, the one and only Burj Al Arab Hotel, and Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest building.
Sunrise Seaplane Flight and City Sightseeing
Kick off your morning with adventure. During five hours you will be transported on water, in air and on land, each experience bringing you a little closer to the unique local culture. The tour starts early in the morning as you embark on a seaplane together with a small group of tourists and an expert guide who will gladly tell you all the interesting facts that you need to know about the city.
The twenty-five minute flight is even more exciting as it include water takeoff and landing. You will fly over important landmarks such as Burj Al-Arab, The Palm Jumeirah and The World archipelago.
The next stage of your morning adventure includes a fun water taxi ride on Dubai Creek with complimentary tea or coffee. Once the water tour is over, you can continue your tour on foot, exploring the fascinating Spice Souk, passing by colorful stands, gold and jewelry stores, and numerous local artifacts.
Next up is a stop at Dubai’s Women’s Museum, where the evolution of women and their roles in the local society is beautifully displayed. A traditional “abra” (wooden boat) will then take you to your next destination – the Dubai Museum in the 18th century Al Fahidi Fort. Here you will understand just how much the city has evolved from its early fishing port stages to the iconic metropolis that we see today.
As you get to the end of the tour, you might feel the need for another refuel, which is why another round of complimentary tea and coffee is offered at this point. Savor them in Bastakyia, the city’s oldest quarter. You can then choose to leave the group and your guide behind for some independent exploration, or you can return with them to the drop-off point, which is the majestic Dubai Mall.
Adrenaline junkies will not want for entertainment in Dubai. Skydive Dubai is a preferred destination for skydivers across the world, being arguably the world’s premier location for this extreme sport. The facility neighbors the Dubai Marina and the manmade The Palm Jumeirah Archipelago.
The main event which encouraged the foundation of a local skydiving spot was the first international parachuting championship held in 2010 in the Palm Drop Zone. It wasn’t long after that very successful event that the name Skydive Dubai was coined by H.E. Nasser Al Neyadi.
The establishment is absolutely stunning, offering a unique experience to all those who visit the place. Extreme sport enthusiasts will get very excited about it size, gear and facilities, while the less adventurous will definitely have a wonderful time at the local cafe, sipping on a delicious drink and watching skydivers do their magic.
Hot Air Balloon Flight
Possibly the most magical experience of all, the hot air balloon flight over Dubai is something you will never forget. Gliding smoothly into the air over the Dubai Desert Conservation Reservation is even more amazing when you do it at sunrise.
One hour in the air is a long time, and yet it never seems to be enough. Unbelievable desert vistas will have you instantly forget all your worries in a tranquil and serene midair experience. The sky flaunts amazing colors as the sun rises above the horizon, while gazelles and camels roam freely across the dunes.
The experience includes a celebratory drink, because it is not every day that you get to fly over the desert in a balloon. At the end of the flight you will also receive a personalized flight certificate to help you remember your adventure. Pick-up and drop-off services are conveniently offered at select Dubai hotels.
The Luxury Indulgence Itinerary
For ultimate relaxation and indulgence seekers, there are endless pamper options to choose from. Probably our favorite choice is the Indulgence Itinerary, which takes guests through a variety of luxury experiences over three days, covering eight wonderful destinations.
Day one will take you on a spoiling trip across the world’s largest shopping metropolis, otherwise known as Dubai Mall. Revamp your wardrobe, do your Christmas shopping, or get yourself that much coveted designer item that you’ve been dreaming of for so long. When hunger strikes, head towards At.mosphere, a fine-dining restaurant in the clouds, located on the 122nd floor of the iconic Burj Khalifa tower. Complete the day with a stop at the lavish Armani Spa in the Armani Hotel, Burj Khalifa.
The relaxation continues on the second day of the itinerary, only this time the experience is slightly more exotic, taking place in the desert. Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa is a place of ultimate serenity, its name actually meaning “gateway to the sun”. It is the perfect spot for a day of spa pampering, as well as an ideal place for fine dining. Your day will end at the resort’s Al Hadheerah picturesque restaurant, where entertainment shows include live music, falconry displays, and henna artists.
On day three you will enjoy excellent music and breathtaking views all in one place: the 360° Restaurant, one of the Top 100 best clubs in the world. Another round of body and mind pampering will happen at Talise Ottoman Spa at the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray Hotel, where every single guest is treated like royalty. The third stop of the day is at the Aprons & Hammers marine club, where you will enjoy a dining experience like no other: you will be given aprons, hammers and a series of other tools with which to crack your way to the delicious food that includes mussles, jumbo shrimps, lobsters and more.
The Ultimate Family Destination
Dubai may be filled with lots of fun destinations for adults, but that doesn’t mean you can’t also bring the children along! There are countless exciting activities and destinations within the emirate that have been specifically designed for parents to enjoy together with their little ones.
You can get a little more adventurous with interior skydiving at iFLY Dubai, or chill by the water as your kids have tons of fun in the mini water park at Jumeirah Beach Residence. Nature enthusiasts will absolutely love the Dubai Miracle Garden, where over 45 million flowers defy the arid desert in a unique spectacle of color and life.
The Global Village is yet another excellent family destination, with 31 pavilions, each representing a different country and offering countless treats and trinkets, while street entertainers keep the spirits high. Some dining venues, like Beachcombers at Jumeirah Beach Hotel, also offer delicious options for children, as well as fun play areas.
Dubai Interesting Facts and Information
- The official national language is Arabic, but English is used as a second language by pretty much everybody.
- The weekend is on Friday and Saturday. This represents a compromise between observing Friday as a holy day for Muslims and having two days off at the end of the week for westerners.
- The dress code in Dubai is not as strict as some might expect: it is not compulsory to respect the Islamic dress code, but there are certain prohibitions on wearing revealing and “indecent” clothing. The only places where these rules are not enforced in public places are the bars, clubs and beaches.
- Kissing and overt displays of affection in public are illegal.
- Homosexuality is also illegal and punishable by the death penalty.
- The official state religion of the UAE is Islam, but Dubai is tolerant of other religious communities, who can own houses of worship in the city.
- Dubai is the future host for the next International Trade Fair, Expo 2020.
- The weather is mostly hot and humid, with average high temperatures of 106 °F (41 °C) in the summer and average lows of 75 °F (24 °) in the winter.
- The name of the UAE currency is dirham (AED)
Must-Visit Destinations in Dubai
There are a few key facts that pretty much everybody knows about Burj Khalifa: it is the world’s tallest building, it is located in Dubai, and its Observation Deck affords unbelievable views of the vast surroundings. For anyone planning to visit the emirate, however, that kind of knowledge may just not be satisfactory enough. This is where we come in.
The spectacular skyscraper is 2,722 feet (829.8 meters) tall and breaks pretty much every height-related record out there. Completing this bold project took six years from the day construction began and until its opening date on January 4, 2010. The design of the skyscraper incorporates historical and cultural elements of the region, albeit in a contemporary interpretation.
Burj Khalifa represents the centerpiece of Downtown Dubai, which is a massive mixed-use development. The record-breaking tower was named after Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the president of the UAE and the ruler of Abu Dhabi, whose government had given Dubai significant financial support over the years.
Here are a few interesting Burj Khalifa facts:
- the building has both legally and illegally been used as a jumping spot for BASE jumpers.
- daredevil climber Alan “Spiderman” Robert climbed to the top of the tower in a six-hour ascension that took place in March, 2011.
- its plumbing system totals approximately 62 miles of pipes, with an additional 132 miles of pipes being exclusively dedicated to the fire emergency system.
- the air conditioning system was designed to use air from the top of the building for the cooling process, as it is significantly cleaner than the one at street level.
- the air conditioning system generates a large amount of condensed water which is cleverly collected and used for Burj Khalifa Park’s irrigation system.
- the fountain system next to the building, known as Dubai Fountain, took $217 million to complete and features 50 colored projectors, as well as 6,600 lights.
- With 154 usable floors, 9 maintenance levels, 2 underground parking levels and 46 spire levels, the building needs 8 escalators and 57 elevators to function properly.
Burj Al Arab
The magnificent Burj Al Arab Hotel is more than just a beautiful sail-shaped building – it was built to become a symbol of modern Dubai, and that goal has been successfully reached. You cannot say Dubai without immediately visualizing this extraordinary urban structure which also happens to be the world’s third tallest hotel. It is true that 39% of its actual height is in fact non-habitable space, but the title still remains unchallenged.
Often unofficially referred to as the world’s only seven-star hotel, Burj Al Arab is a peerless establishment in the hospitality industry. The building’s management has repeatedly stressed that that description was never used in any of their marketing campaigns, but that there was not much anyone could do to stop people from using it.
However, calling the hotel a seven-star destination is actually not that much of an overstatement. Starting with the spectacular interiors, continuing with the impeccable services, and ending with the often prohibitive Burj Al Arab rates, everything about the hotel spells glamour and opulence. Offering suite-only accommodation, the building holds a total of 56 floors and 202 suites. The smallest suite has 1,820 square feet of space, with the largest boasting 8,400 square feet.
One of the most expensive hotels in the world, Burj Al Arab does not disappoint. Guests enjoy discreet check-ins within their own rooms, personal butlers, and a host of luxe options, such as a private chauffeur and Rolls-Royce. Many tourists, however, wonder if there is any way of taking a Burj Al Arab tour without having to book a stay there. While the short answer to that question is no, there are ways of witnessing its grandeur without being an actual guest.
For instance, you can book a lovely afternoon tea in the hotel, which will surprise you by consisting of much more than just a hot cup of tea. You can enjoy stunning views from the Skyview Bar, and you also get to enjoy all-you-can-drink coffee, tea and hot chocolate, as well as all-you-can-eat scones and sandwiches. Catching the sunset from the bar is a truly memorable experience as well.
Hotel guests, however, get to experience much more than that. They have access to world-class amenities such as the iconic Burj Al Arab tennis court which cantilevers over the city at 689 feet above ground. When there is no tennis activity on the platform, the space is also used as a helipad. There is currently some talk about building an underwater tennis court as well, because why not?
We could go on and on about the hotel’s numerous extraordinary features and amenities, but we think a short list of the most interesting Burj Al Arab facts will be more satisfactory for our trivia-oriented readers. So here it is:
- The building stands on a manmade island which is connected to the mainland by a private bridge. Serious security filters ensure a proper selection of visitors.
- Eighteen elevators keep the 56 floors (of which 3 are underground) connected at all times.
- The Oyster Restaurant offers unforgettable dining experiences next to the massive transparent wall of a 260,000-gallon seawater aquarium. Accessing the restaurant includes a simulated submarine voyage.
- Guests can opt to arrive at the hotel via helicopter and enjoy a 15-minute aerial tour of the city.
- The car rental service offers spectacular luxury vehicles such as Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Aston Martins.
- At check-in, every guest is given a 24-kt gold iPad with the “BurjAl Arab Jumeirah” inscription on it, to be used as virtual concierge.
- All guests have unlimited access to the Wild Wadi Waterpark, which is only a short walk from the hotel. A complimentary buggy is also available for even easier transport.
Atlantis The Palm Hotel & Resort
Atlantis The Palm was the first building to be erected on the extraordinary Palm Jumeirah archipelago, and it was built right at its apex. The hotel opened in 2008 and it has enjoyed spectacular success ever since, attracting luxury enthusiasts from all over the world.
As the name suggests, it is a nautically themed resort, with the myth of Atlantis being at the core of the concept. In order to give it a distinctive local allure, the architecture also features unmistakable Arabian elements which add extra character to the hotel. There is virtually no such thing as dull Atlantis Dubai photos, and that is due to the sheer magnificence of the building – both inside and outside.
With 1,539 rooms and suites, Atlantis The Palm is a massive complex with a structure that is based on two separate wings known as the Royal Towers. These two are connected at the top by the Royal Bridge Suite, which is essentially a masterpiece of opulence and grandeur. It flaunts 924 square meters (9,946 square feet) of pure luxury, which includes a Majestic Lounge, a spectacular Master Bedroom, two additional bedrooms, breathtaking views and countless exclusive features.
Even though the hotel is located in a desert city, water plays a huge role in its concept, which only adds to its almost overwhelming level of luxury. Guests can enjoy unforgettable dolphin interactions, sea lion adventures, and endless entertainment within the Atlantis Dubai water park, also known as the Aquaventure Waterpark.
If mystery and secrets are what you crave for the most, then you definitely need to visit The Lost Chambers Aquarium, which is an immense aquarium with ruin-like structures that almost have you believing that the ancient lost city of Atlantis has finally been discovered.
The Atlantis Dubai aquarium is world-famous for all the right reasons, and you mustn’t miss the chance to see it. You can even pay for professional snorkeling and diving courses if you feel inspired to join the underwater world after watching all the magnificent sea creatures swimming peacefully.
Speaking of submerged experiences, you should know that aquarium-inspired spaces are not limited to entertainment facilities alone. There are also two superb below-water suites for guests to choose from, which is why sometimes people refer to the resort as the Atlantis Dubai underwater hotel. The Poseidon and Neptune Underwater Suites will instantly disconnect you from all your worries and everyday troubles. Just imagine retreating every day into a safe haven where giant blue aquarium walls let you get lost into the calm realm of stingrays and fishes – priceless.
As the oldest existing building in the emirate, Dubai Museum is a precious artifact in itself. The building is actually an old fort, whose construction began back in 1787 with the purpose of protecting the land from neighboring tribe invasions. As the fortress evolved throughout the years, so did its purpose, changing from fort to royal palace, to garrison, to prison.
It was only in 1971 that the historic building opened its gates to the public as a museum for the first time. Within its walls history seems to be trapped and carefully preserved. Visitors can enter its rooms and corridors to discover fascinating displays of old local traditions, as well as the unique culture of the land.
History enthusiasts will be thrilled to see artifacts as old as 3000 BC, as well as numerous antiquities which illustrate the locals’ way of life before they first discovered the oil. Visitors can also admire fascinating weapon collections from various historical times, traditional musical instruments, different types of old boats, trading artifacts from Asia and Africa, intricate dioramas illustrating the everyday life of yore, and much more.
The World Dubai
One of the things Dubai is very famous for is its audacity. No project seems to bold and no idea is too much for the visionary minds of its rulers. And while that may not seem wise for some, no one can actually deny the fact that the famous emirate is one of the most spectacular places on Earth – a status that could never have been achieved without a hefty dose of enthusiasm.
The World Islands is one of the city’s most ambitious projects, even though it is not the first of its kind. It is Dubai’s fourth collection of artificial islands, whose development began in 2009, and which is still in its early stages of development. The manmade archipelago is located 2.5 miles off the coast of the city, and it was designed to roughly illustrate the map of our world.
Originally conceived by the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the project is being developed by Nakheel Properties, who already has significant experience in the field, after having started three other similar archipelagos – known as the Palm Islands – in the warm shallow waters of the Persian Gulf.
It is truly amazing how the Palm Islands were built in Dubai, given the immense amounts of sand that had to be dredged from the bottom of the gulf and then sprayed onto the designated areas. The process is called rainbowing, a term that comes from the arcs that the sand makes as it is sprayed in place by huge ships. The 2008 financial crisis had a great negative impact on all these extraordinary development projects, seriously affecting their evolution and pushing back deadlines. In the case of another similar project called The Universe, construction was abandoned before it even began.
The first manmade archipelago that was developed in Dubai was The Palm Jumeirah, the first of three planned similar island clusters. It is also the smallest and most developed of the three Palm Islands. It holds some of the city’s most luxurious and famous hotels, including the iconic Atlantis, The Palm.
After launching the project, the developers announced that it would increase the initial number of residences that it would build on the islands, thus reducing the spacing between them. This led to many investors being seriously upset, as they had already purchased properties expecting a different, more intimate configuration.
The palm tree-shaped archipelago also features a crescent-like breakwater, which means more beaches for people to enjoy. Access from the palm fronds to the crescent is ensured by a six-lane underwater tunnel which links them without disrupting the design at the surface.
There are two more similar palm-like structures in Dubai, called Palm Jebel Ali and Palm Deira, also known as Deira Island. They are both significantly larger than Palm Jumeirah, but their development is still in its early stages. It has been announced that Deira Island, which is the largest of all, will be remodeled, but it is not exactly clear how much its actual shape will change.
The Dubai Mall
Based on total area, The Dubai Mall is the largest shopping mall in the world, which fits perfectly with the city’s ceaseless pursuit of grandeur. The 12,100,000 square foot complex is part of a much larger urban development project known as Downtown Dubai, and it holds over 1,200 stores and services. Quite surprisingly, though, it is actually only the 17th largest shopping mall in the world based on total retail floor area.
The mall is always ready to welcome new visitors, enabling intense shopping sprees and providing amazing entertainment opportunities. Shopping in Dubai is almost a tradition, and people often visit the emirate only to participate in fabulous shopping festivals. The options are endless and so are the temptations, with countless luxury brands racing to get your undivided attention.
But every avid shopper will tell you that buying things can be a genuinely exhausting activity, which is why The Dubai Mall holds numerous dining and entertainment facilities. There is an overwhelming variety of dining and drinking venues, all strategically positioned across the complex, and varying from the most casual to the most exclusive.
For visitors who don’t particularly enjoy buying things, there are numerous other exciting activities to try within the mall. There is no need to drag your spouse from store to store if they don’t really find the activity exciting. Both adults and children will find numerous other ways to have fun while you update your wardrobe, and you might even find it difficult to convince them to leave at the end of the day.
Kids can lose track of time role-playing at KidZania® (a fun place where young ones learn how adult life works in a fun and educational way), while adults can get completely lost in adrenaline-pumping virtual realities at SEGA Republic. Totally defying the hot weather outside, The Dubai Mall also holds an Olympic-size ice rink where anybody can learn how to skate or maybe just improve some already good skills.
Other amazing facilities to visit within the mall include the stunning Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo which displays marine life behind the world’s largest acrylic panel, The Dubai Fountain with powerful water jets that soar 450 feet high, and DubaiDino with fascinating fossils that take you back in time over 155 million years. With so much to do, see and buy, there really is no way anyone could ever get bored inside the majestic Dubai Mall.
Continuing on the theme of intrepid projects and superlative achievements, Ski Dubai is an extraordinary indoor winter sports resort which brings snow into the desert. It is part of yet another imposing structure in the city, the Mall of the Emirates, which is unsurprisingly among the largest shopping malls in the world.
Ski Dubai flaunts over 242,000 square feet of indoor ski area, which includes the world’s first indoor black diamond run (only suitable for very experienced skiers), because if you take on a bold project in Dubai, you kind of have to set some kind of new record as well. Aside from the 400-meter (1,312-foot) long black run, ski enthusiasts will also find four other slopes of various degrees of difficulty, which makes the resort completely welcoming for both professionals and amateurs.
Skiers and snowboarders have access to a tow lift and a quad lift, which gives them a little time to catch their breath between descents. For anyone who is not a fan of the sport, other winter-related activities can also be enjoyed within the Snow Park. The 32,300-suare-foot play area features a body slide, toboggan and sled runs, an ice cave and climbing towers, all of which can keep both kids and adults occupied for hours.
One of the most exciting attractions in the snow resort is definitely the penguin interaction. As the artificial mountain has a constant temperature of 30°F (-1°C) during the day and 21°F (-6°C) during the night, the ambiance is perfect for cute little penguins to live there. A few times a day, they are all allowed out of their enclosures, and people can watch them having fun in the snow. You can also book a petting session if you want to get a bit closer.
All that fun and excitement is obviously going to require serious refueling, which is why Ski Dubai also holds a number of winter-themed dining and drinking venues. Spending a day in the resort will have you completely forget that you are actually in one of the hottest places on earth, which makes the whole experience that more exciting. Oh, and don’t worry about having to bring winter gear with you on vacation – warm clothes and sports equipment are all included in the admission price.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that the UAE’s only dolphinarium is located in Dubai. It is also the only fully air conditioned dolphinarium in the whole Middle East, which ensures a perfectly enjoyable environment for both the marine animals and their many visitors. The facility has 54,000 square feet (5,000 square meters) of floor space and enough seats for about 1,250 people.
Home to five adult and one baby black sea bottlenose dolphins, a few northern fur seals and many gorgeous exotic birds, Dubai Dolphinarium is a truly wonderful place to be in. There are a variety of exciting activities to engage in within the facility, and people can choose just how close they want to get to the animals they see.
The dolphins and the seals are remarkably good at doing mesmerizing acrobatics, which makes their shows truly amazing, even if you don’t get to actually interact with them directly. However, nothing really compares to being right next to and swimming with a happy, friendly dolphin. Children and adults can play with the beautiful marine mammals after being briefed by experts and always under the supervision of experienced trainers.
For extra variety, the complex also houses the only exotic bird show in the UAE, where visitors get to learn a lot about beautiful flying creatures, their social structures, conservation and much more. Clearly proving that birds are in fact much more intelligent than previously assumed, the show is essentially a spectacular display of over twenty different feathered acrobats doing amazing performances and fun tricks.
There is yet another exciting activity within the dolphinarium complex, and it is meant to seriously challenge your senses, as well as your love for adventure. The baffling mirror maze is a place where adults and children can totally lose track of time trying to figure out a way out of the intricate labyrinth. Seeing your own reflection everywhere is totally disconcerting, but at the same time extremely fun when you’re looking for a way out.
Dubai Dolphinarium is not only tourist-oriented. The facility is also an excellent educational center where people can learn precious information about nature and how we can help it thrive. Children between 4 and 18 years old can benefit from an extensive education program about marine life and sustainability, which even includes kids’ summer camps.
Madinat Jumeirah is one of many spectacular developments in Dubai, a sprawling five-star luxury resort that covers over 40 beautifully landscaped hectares of property. It is essentially a modern interpretation of a traditional Arabian town, featuring authentic details such as sand-colored buildings, a souk (traditional local market), and 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) of waterways and gardens.
Also known as The Arabian Resort of Dubai, Madinat Jumeirah comprises two grand boutique hotels – Jumeirah Al Qasr and Jumeirah Mina A’ Salam), seven Jumeirah Malakiya Villas, and 29 traditional summer houses known as Jumeirah Dar Al Masyaf. At the heart of the complex there is an inviting souk with maze-like walkways and shops. Even though the bazar is not as naturally spontaneous as other similar markets in the city, it still keeps a lovely air of tradition and local culture.
The resort is perfectly equipped to host important corporate or private events, featuring extensive conference and banqueting facilities, including a 1,000-seat amphitheater and two grand ballrooms. Also part of the development, Madinat Arena is the region’s only dedicated entertainment center, which can be adapted to suit a variety of different events.
The numerous and very different areas of Madinat Jumeirah are conveniently linked together by waterways. Guests can take water taxis – locally referred to as Abra – to go from one place to another within the resort. Because the canals are filled with sea water, they can naturally sustain marine life, which is why a turtle rehabilitation pen was built at Mina A’ Salam. Injured turtles can be taken care of here before being released back into the wild.
As with any respectable resort, there are several relaxation, fitness and entertainment facilities on the property as well. Talise Fitness is a state-of-the-art gymnasium with a variety of training programs to meet anyone’s needs; resort guests benefit from complimentary access to the amazing Wild Wadi Waterpark, where the hours always go by too fast; Talise Spa is a luxury oasis of rejuvenation hidden amidst tropical landscapes and tranquil water features.
Madinat Jumeirah guests can also enjoy long relaxing walks on the resort’s two kilometers of private beach, if the water park atmosphere proves to be too intense. And for those moments when hunger strikes completely unexpectedly, they can choose from forty different restaurant, bar and cafe options, ranging from casual to world-class. Our final advice: go ahead and explore the gardens and landscapes with no aim and with a healthy dose of curiosity. You never know where that next flight of stairs will take you – it could be a superb hidden terrace with breathtaking views of the surroundings.
Completed in 2000, the Emirates Towers complex is now an instantly recognizable symbol of Dubai. It is one of the many spectacular tall buildings that make up the city’s unique skyline, and it has become one of the most popular corporate travel destinations in the world.
The complex consists of two very similar towers known as Emirates Office Tower (also known as Emirates Tower One), which is a 54-floor office building, and Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel (also known as Emirates Tower Two), which is a stunning 56-floor business hotel. The two buildings are connected by a retail complex known as “The Boulevard”, which holds a number of exciting shopping, dining and entertainment opportunities.
Interestingly enough, the office tower is actually taller than the hotel, even though it has fewer floors. However, together they look like completely invincible giants, standing proud and tall at 1,014 feet and 1,165 feet (309 meters and 355 meters) high. The complex occupies 42 acres and includes beautiful gardens, waterfalls, lakes and public seating space.
Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel is one of the best business hotels in Dubai, with 400 large and lavishly appointed rooms and suites. Top-of-the-line meeting and business facilities make it highly popular with work travellers with a taste for glamorous living. The exquisite spa and fitness facilities are great places to go to when they need to disconnect from their work and regain their inner balance. Guests are always impressed by the breathtaking views and impeccable services within the hotel, which is why most of them choose to come back time and time again.
Still under construction (as of January 2016), Marina 101 is a stunning 101-floor skyscraper in Dubai, which upon completion will officially become the world’s tallest residential building, soaring 1,399 feet (426.5 meters) high. The first 33 floors will actually be dedicated to a luxurious 5-star Hard Rock Hotel – the first in the Middle East – leaving floors 34 to 100 for residential apartments and stunning duplex penthouses. The last floor will be occupied by a restaurant, a club lounge and a Rock Shop, all with breathtaking views.
In a city where spectacular buildings and unbelievably high skyscrapers are the norm, Marina 101 manages to stand out with a beautiful architecture that evoke the art deco era. The vertical uniformity of the structure is dynamically interrupted by flared projections in a subtle play of negative and positive volumes. At the top, the 147.6 foot (45 meter) crown adds the final and most spectacular element of architecture which gives the building its unmistakable look.
Located in the always busy Dubai Marina district and close to the iconic Palm Jumeirah archipelago, the building affords some truly unbelievable panoramas. The only building in Dubai which can top them is the majestic Burj Khalifa, which is the only other skyscraper in the emirate that is taller than Marina 101. In terms of luxury facilities, the superstructure will obviously lack nothing. Squash courts, top-notch gymnasium, plush spa center, swimming pools, outdoor terraces and 24×7 concierge and room services are all on the list.